Photos Once Lost Now Found – Success Story!

You are more than just an invoice or customer number to us. We value our customer’s stories and situations, and when needed, will exhaust every possibility in the pursuit of finding a solution to your problem. Recently, that even involved in contacting a funeral home! One of the most precious things our computers contain these days are photos.

Photos missing

7 Years Of Photos… Gone.

We had a customer in the other week that has been directed by Apple to take their iMac to a PC shop for a new hard drive, this resulted in them being responsible for reinstalling the OS and restoring files. This should have been relatively easy and problem free, but once the dust had cleared, the discovered someone very serious was wrong. Photos only had about 300 photos in its database… 8 years of photos were simply gone.

After Googling and even approaching the Apple store, they happened upon The Stem. They simply asked if I had advice, but I asked them to just bring everything in. The next day they came in with a 27″ iMac and a Time Capsule, which at first glance contained a good backup.

We started over. We wiped the drive and installed a fresh OS, and restored from the Time Capsule. Everything appeared to be great until we went to open Photos. It seemed to think there was no Library file to open, so we went and peaked… there were 3 iPhoto libraries, all of them empty as a used tin can.

Digging Deeper

We mounted the Time Capsule but no matter what we did, could not access the actual Backup file structure. We finally used our utilities to investigate the drive itself and found a discrepancy in the amount of data between what was restored and what was contained on the Time Capsule. This indicated there was indeed something MORE there. Could that additional data be there missing photos? The only way we could find out was by convincing the Time Capsule to mount its drive.

After a reset of the TC and a new set up, we were only presented with the disk image of the backup file with no ability to see anything. The icon is supposed to mount the drive but nothing was happening. After some investigation, we caught wind of issues between High Sierra and older backups, but even booting in an older OS wasn’t allowing us to see the files!

Just before we were about to physically rip the drive out of the TC, we decided on a hunch to go looking in the hidden files. Once we did this, something triggered! Suddenly we were able to see the drive that was hiding on us! We dove in and thanked our lucky stars we found an iPhoto library weighing in just under 200GB… sounds about right for 8 years of photos!

Instead of trying to troubleshoot and figure out why the file restore function wasn’t finding this library, we decided to grab that whole thing, lock, stock and barrel and copy it to the customers hard drive.

Photos recovered

It felt so good to see this copy proceeding!

Massive Feeling Of Relief

Once the copy was finished and we verified that there were indeed 7 years of photos in there, I had the pleasure of calling the customer and information them we had recovered their memories. They were beside themselves and very thankful after having a few sleepless nights!

Once everything was buttoned up, I reset the TC again and erased the drive, started a new back up… which then failed. After a bit more tinkering, I had to make the call, looks like there is a problem with the drive in the TC. Guess that’s where the problems stemmed from!

Count On Us

At The Stem we not only install the physical hard drive, we also install the new OS and transfer any files. Though in most cases, things go very smoothly… sometimes they don’t. You can count on our experience to see your precious data through any hiccups that may occur. It’s simple peace of mind.

Be sure to contact us if you have any trouble with your Mac!

Ryszard Gold
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Ryszard Gold

Ryszard (Rick) Gold, From Calgary, Alberta, Canada has over 20 years of experience working with Apple products in a technical capacity. Passionate about technology in general, his natural troubleshooting abilities, curiosity and appreciation of good design lead him into working exclusively with Apple Computer products.
Ryszard Gold
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